Month: October 2020

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When the going gets heavy…

It’s October.  The time of year when the non-summer jumps horses are gearing up for the new National Hunt season and the flat horses, used to sunshine and warmth are beginning to “go in their coat”.  I’m not too sure what that phrase means, to be honest with you.  I just hear it said a lot on the TV when describing horses who are clearly getting themselves ready for a rest over the colder months or before they retire from the racetrack and get sent off to stud.  Whatever, the point is that the weather is changing and with it, so is the ground.

I’ve never really subscribed to the theory that making money from betting on horses is always much trickier in October and March, when the two racing seasons – flat and jumps – are either starting up or coming to an end.  I can see that this time of year can often mean changing going conditions, and I do truly believe that periods of good profits often coincide with periods of consistent ground, whether that be on the firm or soft side of good.  But historically, I’ve had some cracking March and Aprils, as I have September/Octobers.  I’ve also had some rotten ones.  In short, I see no discernible pattern.

One thing is for sure though, is that my racing services are really struggling at the moment.  After showing some hints of spluttering back into some form a week or so ago, Precision Value has regressed again.  I don’t think it’s anything too sinister.  It feels, although I could be wrong, that it’s suffered from an untimely bout of seconditis, an illness that scientists are yet to find a cure or vaccine for.  I suppose currently, they have other, more pressing vaccine-oriented priorities.

Bet Alchemist is best described as turgid so far this month, although it is not posting disastrous figures.  As for Racing Intelligence, well, things can only get better from the last two or three weeks, I guess.  From sailing along without a care in the world, suddenly we’re looking down the barrel of a losing month, and a pretty significant one at that.  The one thing I know about this service though, is that the going can go from one extreme to the other in a blink of an eye.

Sadly this week, things haven’t been saved by the golf.  Those two – Golf Insider and PGA Profit – need to sort themselves out.  It’s all very well picking out triple digit winners, but I want them every week, goddammit!  Pull your fingers out, fellas!

Portfolio performance for October (to the 25th)

Bet Alchemist (100 point bank): Staked 39pts, -5.538pts

Golf Insider (400): Staked 52.5pts, +106pts

PGA Profit (500): Staked 52pts, +93pts

Precision Value (200): Staked 71pts, -22.25pts

Racing Intelligence (200): Staked 306pts, -28.9pts

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): Staked 23pts, -3.479pts

Racing Service 2 (50): n/a

Total for October: ROI 3.83%, ROC 1.45%


250/1 winner one week, 100/1 winner the next…!!!

Yep, you read that right.  Just a week after I prescribed, if not caution, an awareness that golf betting often means enduring lean spells, and contrasted the travails of PGA Profit to the 250/1 winning tipster Golf Insider, we only go and see PGA Profit knock in their own triple digit winner on Sunday evening.

I couldn’t quite believe it when I checked the results on Monday morning.  I don’t think I’ve ever had anything that compares to a 250/1 shot land one week and a 100/1 the next.  I remember doubling my stake in error on a 40/1 shot on Betfair  and seeing the nag storm home in front some years ago, and I remember doing something similar when trying to get a couple of non-league footie bets on with my mobile whilst sitting in a restaurant one Saturday lunchtime, which meant a nice bonus.  But this?  This is something else.

The thing is, I’m still using bookmaker accounts for the majority of my golf bets, and there’s no hint of not being able to get on.  That might be about to change of course, but I’m not convinced it will.  The prices have been easy to get for the most part too, and I do know that if using the exchanges, even after an initial drop in the available price when the bets come out, they often drift back out again as the market grows in liquidity.  There’s a lot to like about golf betting, although I freely admit that’s easy to say after the fortnight I’ve just had.

Back to the horses and things are proving a bit trickier there, with both Precision Value and Racing Intelligence struggling.  Having said that, the former knocked in four from four last Friday and netting 14 points of profit by doing so, perhaps signalling a return to form.  Racing Intelligence accumulates points of profit for fun when doing well, and loses them for not so much fun when not.  I find the pace of this service pretty frenetic – I don’t usually feel like it treads water much but instead sways from one extreme to the other. I’m sure that’s nonsense, but that’s how it feels.  Bet Alchemist had a weekend to forget too, finding the card at Ascot on Champions’ Day more than a little tricky to negotiate.

Finally, I’ve decided upon my replacement for Racing Service 1 and will introduce it to the Bet Diary from the 1st November.  I’m a bit OCD about that sort of thing – I don’t like starting something new mid-month.  I have this stupid feeling that it skews the month’s results, which I know is nonsense, but still.

Portfolio performance for October (to the 18th)

Bet Alchemist (100 point bank): Staked 28pts, -1.288pts

Golf Insider (400): Staked 36.5pts, +123pts

PGA Profit (500): Staked 38pts, +101pts

Precision Value (200): Staked 47pts, -9.25pts

Racing Intelligence (200): Staked 219pts, -21.875pts

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): Staked 18pts, -2.49pts

Racing Service 2 (50): n/a

Total for October: ROI 16.14%, ROC 4.38%

Perfect Play-Off Performance Produces Pristine Profit!

I can only apologize for the above.  If ever there was a contrived headline, that has got to be it.  “Pristine Profit”!?!  What was I thinking?

I think the best thing to do is to move on quickly.

There is no doubt at all about the highlight of the past week.  Martin Laird winning a three-way play-off over on the US PGA Tour for Golf Insider, was the perfect play-off performance that produced a…great return.  Backed at 250/1, Laird bagged 132 points for GI members who will have tackled the challenges of the typical Monday morning with a spring in their step and a glint in their eye.  Who says you should treat winning and losing with the same casual insouciance?  Bugger that. You don’t get 250/1 winners every day.

There’s an awful lot going for using golf as your medium for beating the bookmaker.  There seems too, to be more choice than ever before in terms of services to follow.  With fewer issues over odds availability than with many horse racing tipsters, the ease with which you might reasonably expect to be able to utilize the betting exchanges, and the lower chance of being hit by bookmaker restrictions if not, golf betting could be the future.

As you will know if you read this Diary last week, I’m looking for a new service to follow following the removal of Racing Service 1 from the portfolio and another golf service as a replacement has to be a consideration.  What might stop me is that having three golf betting tipsters in a portfolio of eight feels like it might be one too many for me just at this moment.  My other golfing expert – PGA Profit – is currently having a leaner time of things and we have to just accept that when it comes to betting on golf, we simply must be prepared for periods of drawdown.  It’s a natural consequence of betting at higher prices.

Balance in a portfolio of tipsters is an important factor, and as such I’m going to go with a more “solid” option, which I’ll reveal next week.  In the meantime, here are the figures for this month to date…

Portfolio performance for October (to the 11th)

Bet Alchemist (100 point bank): Staked 18pts, +7.212pts

Golf Insider (400): Staked 19pts, +132pts

PGA Profit (500): Staked 29pts, -12pts

Precision Value (200): Staked 25pts, -10.75pts

Racing Intelligence (200): Staked 143pts, +28.45pts

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): Staked 7pts, -3.982pts

Racing Service 2 (50): n/a

Total for October: ROI 35.7%, ROC 6.09%

Christmas come early?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Nope, not Christmas.

When October rolls around, when the last vestiges of summer have disappeared and the nights have started drawing in, there is one thing that happens every year that warms the cockles of the ardent National Hunt racing fan fortunate enough to have discovered one of the great racing tipsters.  Yup, it’s the return of Racing Service 2.

Now into his ninth season (where does the time go!?!), RS2 sent out the email just last week; the email that each year, makes me smile as soon as I see it hit my inbox.  The email that states that very soon, RS2 will be sending out his tips and thoughts on the day’s racing.

Over time, RS2 has tweaked what he offers to cater for two distinct categories of followers.  One is the investor, those who regard their betting purely as a means to a financial end.  The other category is that which holds what I would call the romantics, the enthusiasts of the sport who relish the insight that a true expert in the field provides, the ‘theories’ and sharp form analysis that entertains and educates in equal measure.

Where do I sit on this spectrum?  I guess with a foot planted in both camps, although when it comes to RS2, I’m happy for my heart to rule my head.  I am a fan of National Hunt racing.  To me it has far more human stories than flat racing, more soul, if you like.  I’m not saying flat jockeys aren’t courageous.  Of course they are.  But stick a man on top of a ton of hard muscled equine athlete and then go ask it for a big jump at the last, sandwiched between two equally muscular beasts knowing that one small error could end in a broken leg, back, or worse…THAT is courage on a different scale.  That can only be admired, man and horse in equal measure.

So when RS2 allows, through his scribblings, a better and more informed insight into this world, there’s nothing for me not to love.  And to add to it all, A. is one of nature’s true gentlemen and genuinely one of the nicest men you could hope to meet.  The only thing I would complain about – the only – is his choice of football team!

With my investor’s hat on, RS2 offers a clear contrast to the concerns I expressed over Racing Service 1 last week.  Over the years, RS” has successfully tweaked how he runs his service, always with the best interest of his subscribers at heart.  He and Wayne of Northern Monkey have always excelled in their approach to their paying members in this way.  RS2 continues to put his service through an ongoing process of evolution, and that process has continued this year, reading of his plans for the forthcoming season.  But behind these tweaks, I know that his actual methodology for identifying horses that are overpriced remains constant.  Complex at times, I think.  But consistent.

From the investor’s viewpoint, I guess the vulnerability of RS2 is that with it running over a period just short of half a year, with relatively few bets given compared to a number of other successful services out there, there is always a risk of an underwhelming year as results are rendered more vulnerable to variance.  But that to me, misses the point of RS2.  RS2 could have a rotten year, I’d still be looking forward eagerly to the start of the next because I know the skill and work ethic of the man behind it, and I know his talent is unquestionable.

Bring it on!

Portfolio performance for October (to the 5th)

With one less racing service than I’m used to currently, and with not getting on this weeks golf betting as I didn’t resume running the portfolio until Thursday last week, it’s been pretty quiet.  No lack of excitement however as Racing Intelligence got October to a flying start, including two 6/1 winners on the first of the month.  Same can’t be said for Precision Value who couldn’t find a winner the days I was betting.

Bet Alchemist (100 point bank): Staked 5pts, +2pts

Golf Insider (400): n/a

PGA Profit (500): n/a

Precision Value (200): Staked 8pts, -8pts

Racing Intelligence (200): Staked 49pts, +42.3pts

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): Staked 3pts, +0.018pts

Racing Service 2 (50): n/a

Total for October: ROI 52.5%, ROC 2.99%

A tweak to the portfolio.

Apologies for the recent break in the Bet Diary posts.  Sadly, a member of the family passed away and to be completely honest with you, betting was put to one side.  I’ve not actually had a bet for the most part of September so the ‘Monthly Review’ is essentially the figures you see on the last blog post.

Anyway, after a break away from it all I’m now ‘back at my desk’ as it were, and daily life is returning to normal. Well, as normal as life can be with a pandemic going on and all that brings.

Things have been happening at Racing Service 2 in my absence.  Things that have a big impact on my portfolio because I’m afraid to say, I can’t justify continuing to follow.

On Monday, RS2 drew members’ attention to an announcement they had made on their site.  I guessed before I clicked through that something was up.  Let’s face it, performance levels have deteriorated significantly over the course of the last year, which is something that can happen to the very best of course.  Almost every tipping service that has lasted for any significant length of time has gone through spells of underperformance.  As Omar from The Wire might have said, it’s all in the game, yo.  And that’s why I had stayed in the game with RS2, accepting that the long term track record was strong and that provided things stayed as they were in terms of their methodology, I’d give them more time to pick things up again and get back to how they had been.

This is why when a few weeks ago, when RS2 told members they had tinkered a little bit with their selection criteria around the ratings they use for each race they analyze, I heard just the first faint tinkle of an alarm bell ringing.  I think I said as much in these pages.  That alarm bell started to ring more loudly when I saw Monday’s statement headlined with, “Try Something New”.

Admirably, RS2 did not try to hide their recent poor results.  Whilst placing them in the context of a number of years’ strong performance, they stated that they needed to “evolve”, which again is a fair enough statement.  I’m sure all tipsters with longevity acknowledge that markets change and adapt over time, and that therefore it is an ongoing quest to protect the edge they have and that process of protection may involve tweaking things here and there.  What followed from RS2 in terms of their plans however, struck me as being much less a process of evolution and more a let’s try something completely different.

The main RS2 team leader is taking a break – which he is fully entitled to do – and will remain in the business, but in the meantime, after discussions with a number of tipsters, they are pleased to announce that a new guy had signed a contract and will be providing tips from 1st October.  His results are posted on the website and make for very impressive reading.  Which is great…and to be 100% crystal clear, I have absolutely no doubt that RS2 are being open and honest in their claims.

But, there is a big ‘But’.  I followed Racing Service 2 because of all the due diligence and analysis put in by the SBC.  I had a long term track record to study.  I knew the style of betting would suit me, etc.  Now, I’d be following a chap I know nothing about, who the SBC have not analyzed, and have not passed as being strongly recommended.  This may come. I sincerely hope that the new RS2 tipster hits his straps, produces some wonderful profit and brings the service back into the top bracket of horse racing tipsters.  But I’m afraid if that is to happen, it will be without my money following him whilst he does it.  In the mean time, I need to give some thought to what will replace RS2 in the portfolio.


Right, I’m back betting today, so next week we’ll have an update on the week’s goings on.  See you then.